*Joint commitment to eradicate terrorism and establish a climate of peace in the region, on the agenda of the talks
“This visit is the continuation of a great friendship between Israel and Romania. There are four hundred thousand Israeli citizens of Romanian origin here, I have good friends among them, my physician for instance, but not only him. We have a close friendship with Romania, I’ve been there many times,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated on Thursday in Jerusalem, at the joint press conference held with visiting Romanian Premier Sorin Grindeanu.
Netanyahu thanked his Romanian counterpart for his trenchant stance against anti-Semitism and against acts of vandalism against Jewish gravestones and expressed the Israeli authorities’ appreciation for this attitude.
In what concerns economic cooperation, the Israeli Premier expressed his country’s desire to develop its relations with Romania in many fields, and deemed that “there are many things to do” in this regard.
“We are two small states but we want to jointly think about the future,” he said, emphasising the important role that technology has in building the future. But, he pointed out, other topics besides technology, such as the healthcare domain and security, play an important role on the bilateral agenda.
Premier Netanyahu took the opportunity to emphasise the important role to be played by the joint statement on cutting international roaming tariffs and by the agreement on bilateral economic cooperation, in allowing for closer links between the citizens of the two countries. “In the spirit of a great friendship, I want to welcome you to Jerusalem and to say that we will see each other again either in Bucharest or in Jerusalem next year, any of the variants is good and you are welcome,” Netanyahu said.
Premier Grindeanu emphasised that Romania and Israel celebrate 69 years of uninterrupted diplomatic relations this year, and stated that “this continuity speaks for itself about the strong friendship between the two countries.”
“Israel is our closest ally and partner in the region and I came here today with the determination to consolidate our partnership, to develop even more its economic side, as you’ve stated, to diversify Romanian-Israeli relations. The Romanian economy is experiencing rapid growth and offers great potential for Jewish companies.
“We can use the inter-governmental platform to launch the preparations for the third joint Government meeting that will reconfirm both Governments’ availability as well as the commitment to expand our bilateral relations.
“I’m taking this opportunity to firmly encourage Romanian-Israeli companies to jointly expand their activities,” Sorin Grindeanu emphasised.
“Romania could be seen as one of the most attractive destinations for European and Israeli companies,” he pointed out.
The Romanian Premier took the opportunity to emphasise Romania’s interest in consolidating cooperation with Israel in the energy sector.
“Moreover, we are interested in consolidating cooperation in the cybernetics and digital industry field, in developing knowledge on ecosystems, in the activity of opening businesses and in consolidating our cooperation in agriculture and tourism.”
“Romania held the presidency of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance until March, and a working definition of anti-Semitism, an expression of clear political commitment on the international scene, was adopted during this period. The Government I lead is determined to consolidate Holocaust education and, in this context, I would like to express my support for the Romanian Jewish History Museum to which I’ve already allocated an important building as headquarters, located in Bucharest’s old town,” Sorin Grindeanu pointed out.
During his meeting with the Israeli Premier, the Romanian Premier also tackled the issue of fighting terrorism.
“The latest terrorist attacks in Europe are alarming and, unfortunately, Romanian citizens lost their lives in these attacks too. Romania continues to firmly support the fight against terrorism. We condemn terrorism in all its forms and expressions and we emphasise that there can be no justification for such actions,” Grindeanu said.
He also stated that Romania is in favour of a united and relevant Europe that is closer to its citizens, and continues to support the consolidation of EU-Israel relations. “Our agenda is strategically relevant for our relations. I’m interested in us continuing in this direction and I’m very glad to be paying this visit,” Sorin Grindeanu concluded.
In his turn, Netanyahu emphasised that Romania and Israel are partners in the attempt to eradicate terrorism, but also in the efforts to make peace. “I look forward to discussing with President Trump the best ways to advance peace. This is something we fervently share with the president. I heard President Abbas yesterday say that the Palestinians teach their children peace. Unfortunately, that’s not true. After the murder of Israelis, they pay terrorists. But I hope that it’s possible to achieve a change and to pursue a genuine peace. This is something Israel is always ready for. I’m always ready for genuine peace,” the Israeli Premier added.
The two Heads of Government participated on Thursday in the signing of two bilateral documents: a declaration of intent between Romania’s Ministry of Communications and Information Society and Israel’s Ministry of Communications to reduce international roaming fees, and a declaration of cooperation between Romania’s Ministry of Economy and Israel’s Ministry of Economy and Industry. The second joint declaration concerns cooperation in areas such as electricity and gas transmission, research, development and innovation, high tech and investment.
Prime Ministers Sorin Grindeanu and Benjamin Netanyahu had a working breakfast on Thursday, also attended by the members of the Romanian delegation: Minister of Economy Mihai Tudose, Minister of National Defence Gabriel Les, Minister for Romanians Abroad Andreea Pastarnac, the Government’s Secretary General Mihai Busuioc, and the Chairman of the Romania-Israel friendship group Gabriel Vlase.
Prior to the meeting with Premier Netanyahu, Prime Minister Grindeanu was received by Israeli President Reuven Rivlin at his official residence Beit Hanassi. According to official sources, President Rivlin told the Romanian Prime Minister that he appreciates the fact that Israel is among the first countries he is visiting in his capacity as Head of Government, while referencing the close ties between the two states and the need to widen cooperation spheres.
Prime Minister Grindeanu told President Rivlin that he expects to welcome him to Romania this year. Sorin Grindeanu and Reuven Rivlin also discussed plans to set up a Jewish History and Holocaust Museum in Bucharest, the cited sources said.